With both Asian and Hispanic populations rapidly increasing in the U.S., the elderly can look forward to a rosy future. After all, according to practically everyone, both groups (and blacks, whose portion of the population is also steadily increasing) honor old people. For example, Ohio State University’s website tells us:
Hispanic families instill in their children the importance of honor, good manners, and respect for authority and the elderly. Preserving the Spanish language within the family is a common practice in most Hispanic homes.
And the Pearson educational support site gives us the following breakdown of ethnic groups and their attitudes toward the elderly:
■ Traditional Chinese values place the family and society over the
individual. Many American-born Chinese may not be as traditional but still hold values of respect for elders and authority.
■ The oldest son has obligations toward the family and is expected
to respect and care for parents.
■ The tradition of “filial piety” is the value of total respect for the
family, especially the elders. This respect for elders was advocated by Confucius, the famous Chinese philosopher and many
Chinese and Chinese-American families choose to follow these
■ Traditionally, elders are respected for their wisdom, experience,
■ Elders, regardless of tribe, assume significant roles as teachers
and caretakers of the young.
■ Elders are given high respect in Vietnamese society. They are
considered the carriers of tradition, knowledge, and wisdom.
Age is considered an asset, not a liability.
■ Elderly grandparents and parents stay with the family for support
■ Elders may prepare meals and care for grandchildren if both the
husband and wife work.
■ In Vietnam, elders are the leaders and decision-makers in the
family and often sought for advice. When these elders move to
the U.S., they can become socially and culturally isolated for
many reasons (e.g., lack of English, age, lack of training for
work). In contrast, the younger family members become more
Americanized and may behave in ways their elders do not approve. This can create tension in families where elders feel ignored and not respected.
■ Elders are respected, obeyed and considered a source of wisdom.
■ To survive to old age is often considered an accomplishment reflecting personal strength, resourcefulness, and faith.
■ Elders are held in high esteem.
■ Old age is viewed as a positive time in the life of the elder.
■ Care for elders is provided by the extended family. It is expected
that children will care for their elderly parents.
And so it appears that all major immigrant groups feature respect for the elderly. No wonder immigration is considered so important for our aging country! Not only will young immigrants work and sustain the social security system, but they will also respect the aging white population.
Unfortunately, there is reason to doubt such an optimistic outlook. Firstly, a largely Hispanic America is not likely to be as wealthy as a white America since “Per capita income of Hispanics is one half that of non-Hispanic whites, and household net worth is less than one tenth.” With less wealth, there can be little doubt that the elderly will suffer. Our current economic downturn has already illustrated this. A recent Oregonian article spoke of the crisis many elderly Oregon homeowners now find themselves in now that there have been changes to the property tax deferral program. The reason for the changes, according to the article, is lack of money in state coffers.
It wasn’t that long ago that Obama had seniors trembling with fear and “mad as hell”, when he threatened that social security checks might not arrive on time unless Congress “does the right thing”. AARP will allow no concessions when it comes to established government programs for seniors:
AARP is adamant that Social Security and Medicare benefits must not be cut in any way as part of any deal to pay the nation’s bills and will continue our efforts to raise the voices of older Americans who rely on these programs for their health and financial security.” she added.
Eventually both the money and the will to provide government benefits will run out. Even if we accept, at face value, the above claims that immigrant cultures honor the elderly, we should ask, “Whose elderly?”. We would expect them to respect their own elderly – but this does not mean that the elderly of other groups and races enjoy the same respect. It would be interesting to see the results of a study (where family involvement, and other variables, are controlled) showing levels of elder abuse at nursing homes by race.
Due to the fact that older people are much more active politically, the inevitable collapse of government social services for them will be delayed for some time. But older people have a habit of dying. There will come a time when they will simply be outvoted by a younger, nonwhite and hostile electorate. Little by little, region by region, old white people will become politically irrelevant. For those old white people who supported “diversity”, and naively believed that they could import foreigners to work for them in their old age, there will be poetic justice. I do not feel much pity for them; they will reap what they sowed. I do feel sorry for those who fought for the truth, worked hard to defend their nation but will still be left out in the cold. There are a lot of elderly white people who raised children themselves but, through no fault of their own, have no grandchildren.
It will be up to the younger generation of whites to take care of those older whites, even if they are not related to them directly. We cannot depend on government benefits much longer.